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Press Release

Former Charter School Principal Sentenced in Connection with MCAS Cheating Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A former Springfield charter school principal was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield for a federal felony in connection with assisting students to cheat on the MCAS.

Janet Henry, 42, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one year of probation and a $500 fine.  In October 2014, Henry pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with mail fraud.

According to the Information, in 2009 Henry became Principal of the Robert M. Hughes Academy Charter School in Springfield.  In March and April 2009, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests were administered to the student body during which time Henry instructed teachers to give clues and other tips to students.  For example, if teachers saw students entering nonsense answers, then they were to tell students to review their answers again.  During preparation meetings, Henry stated to teachers that “this is where we earn our money,” and warned that the school could close or everyone would lose their jobs, if the test scores were not satisfactory.  On April 16, 2009, upon the completion of the MCAS examinations, Henry falsely certified that the tests had been administered honestly.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Brian M. Hickey, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, Northeast Region; and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Regan of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.

Updated January 12, 2015